Wednesday, 23 April 2008


Celebrating Saint George the English way

  • Wednesday, 23 April 2008
  • Fouad GM
  • Share
  • This morning, in celebration of St George's day, BBC4's Today Programme hosted two poets whose poems reflect some English perceptions of England's patron saint George and what he stands for. While the first poem stood up for the rights of dragons as endangered species, the second poem stood up for St George's multiculturalism. The last two lines of the second poem however, are arguably THE MOST English of all I believe.

    Read and reflect,

    The True Dragon by Brian Patten

    St George was out walking
    He met a dragon on a hill,
    It was wise and wonderful
    Too glorious to kill

    It slept amongst the wild thyme
    Where the oxlips and violets grow
    Its skin was a luminous fire
    That made the English landscape glow

    Its tears were England’s crystal rivers
    Its breath the mist on England’s moors
    Its larder was England’s orchards,
    Its house was without doors

    St George was in awe of it
    It was a thing apart
    He hid the sleeping dragon
    Inside every English heart

    So on this day let’s celebrate
    England’s valleys full of light,
    The green fire of the landscape
    Lakes shivering with delight

    Let’s celebrate St George’s Day,
    The dragon in repose;
    The brilliant lark ascending,
    The yew, the oak, the rose


    By George!
    by Elvis Mcgonagall

    Once more unto the breach, dear Morris Dancers once more
    Jingle your bells, thwack sticks, raise flagons
    Cry “God for Harry and Saint George!”
    Gallant knight and slayer of dragons
    Patron saint of merry England –
    And Georgia, and Catalonia, and Portugal, Beirut, Moscow
    Istanbul, Germany, Greece
    Archers, farmers, boy scouts, butchers and sufferers of syphilis
    Multicultural icon with sword and codpiece
    On, on you bullet-headed saxon sons
    Fly flags from white van and cab
    But remember stout yeomen, your champion was Turkish
    So – get drunk and have a kebab

    St. George is one of the most venerated saints in the Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox Churches, and the Eastern Catholic Churches. He is immortalised in the tale of George and the Dragon and is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. He is also the patron saint of Aragon, Canada, Catalonia, China, England, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Palestine, Portugal, Russia, and Serbia, as well as the cities of Amersfoort, Beirut, Ferrara, Freiburg, Genoa, Ljubljana, and Moscow, as well as a wide range of professions, organisations and disease sufferers and is especially venerated by the Coptic Churches of Egypt and Ethiopia.

    0 Responses to “Celebrating Saint George the English way”

    Post a Comment